Zen Koi

Since you guys seem to like posts that involve fun games that may not be specifically kimono-related but often reflect back on Japanese aesthetics, I’d love to tell you about Zen Koi by LandShark Games.

There are many variations on a legend about the koi fish that states that if it swims upstream and through perseverance and determination reaches the gate at the top of a waterfall, the gods will reward the koi by transforming it into a dragon. This app loosely follows that premise. You begin with a tiny koi hatched from an egg, and to progress in the game you eat specific types of prey. You grow, level up your koi, and expand your pond, until you reach the final level and ascend your fish, which then becomes a dragon.

The gameplay is incredibly soothing and non-challenging. Occasionally the prey can be a bit tricky to catch, but there are no penalties and no time limits. If you miss, you can just try again. It’s almost more like a guided meditation than an actual game. It has a very simple and fluid learning curve but never stops being rewarding, especially if you’re a completist like myself. I keep playing to try to get as many variations of koi and dragons as I can! If you’re looking for something with a lovely, quiet feel and a pretty Japanese-style aesthetic to keep you occupied on long bus commutes or in waiting rooms, I highly suggest you check it out!

The game is free to download and free to play. There is a form of premium currency called pearls which you can use to expand your number of fish and buy new fish, but you can earn pearls by exalting your koi and watching brief advertisements for other games. At no point is real currency necessary to progress. You can get Zen Koi on Google Play for Android, or Zen Koi on the iOS App Store for Apple devices.